While You Were Sleeping: Virginia Vs ACLU, Indy 500 Throwback and Helicopter Parents Are Taking Over Cars

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
while you were sleeping virginia vs aclu indy 500 throwback and helicopter parents

Virginia is for lovers of license plate readers.

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  • Dave M. Dave M. on May 07, 2015

    Why are license-plate restriction covers more widely available?

    • Exfordtech Exfordtech on May 07, 2015

      Anything that obscures or any part of the lettering of a license plate (including a clear or tinted cover that can be seen through) has routinely resulted in Massachusetts a safety failure during a yearly vehicle inspection. The instructions for licensed vehicle inspectors basically told you to fail a vehicle with any such covering over the license plate, even dealership plate frames that obscured the "spirit of Massachusetts" lettering. This is from MASSDOT: Tuesday, August 5, 2014- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Massachusetts State Police today reminded motorists that state law requires vehicle license plate numbers to be legible and unobscured by a glass or plastic cover or other device. Chapter 90, Section 6 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires that a vehicle number license plate always be plainly visible with the numbers legible and not obscured by the installation of any device obscuring the numbers. Oddly, a prior court decision seems to challenge the assertion of MassDOT: Color of law: Court rules illegal gun can't be used as evidence against man stopped for tinted license-plate cover By adamg on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 11:21am The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that the fact a man had a transparent blue plastic cover over his license plate was not enough of a reason for a state trooper to pull him over on Rte. 495 in 2011. And because that was the only reason the trooper pulled Michael Bernard over, the illegal gun the trooper found on Bernard during a pat frisk cannot be used against him in a trial for possession of an illegal weapon because the trooper had no reason to think Bernard was doing anything illegal at the time that would warrant pulling him out of his car and frisking him, the court ruled. At issue was whether state license-plate law bans all coverings of license plates, or only those that make their numbers harder to read. "Although the cover has a bluish tint, it does not to any degree obscure or reduce the legibility of the license plate," the court concluded, continuingthat the law does not ban all coverings: The statute does not by its terms prohibit the use of all license plate covers, nor does it mention tinted covers. Instead, consistent with its overall focus on visibility and legibility, the statute prohibits the "installation of any device obscuring [the registration] numbers." "Device" is certainly broad enough to encompass license plate covers. But a cover (tinted or not) does not violate the statute unless it obscures the registration numbers. The regulation likewise does not impose a universal prohibition against license plate covers. Instead, it prohibits only those covers that reduce the legibility or substantially diminish the reflective quality of the license plate The court said the trooper did not help prosecutors' case by acknowledging he always pulled over cars that had any kind of covering on their license plates, because that is clearly a legal error. Had the trooper instead said he pulled over the car because he had trouble making out the plate's letters and numbers, that would have been a different matter, the court said.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on May 07, 2015

    "I guess Sally will have to settle for getting pregnant in her own town thanks to that geo-fence lock." You might not want her to be bumping uglies in her hometown. (Thinking of the Texas high school with ridiculously high rates of STI/STDs and "abstinence only" sex ed.) But seriously, teenagers do stupid things no matter what. You really should just be trying to educate your kid to do less severely stupid things than their peers.

  • Raph Raph on May 07, 2015

    Virginia's love affair with license plate readers. I wonder what clever new uses they will find for them. My AO in Virginia uses the readers to spot expired tags and check against the owners personal property tax status. If its unpaid the city seizes the car (watched this happen to a lady with expired tags. They pulled her over and towed the vehicle away) and impounds it at considerable expense. The laughable part to all this is that the city can garnish your paycheck to get the personal property tax but I guess seizing the vehicle and impounding it is a win/win for the city as its well over 100 bucks a day for the impound which can lead to forfeiture of the vehicle which they can eventually auction off or convert to official use and the owner is still on the hook for the personal property tax and possibly the impound fees not covered by the sale of the vehicle.

    • TMA1 TMA1 on May 07, 2015

      Sometimes I regret buying a house in Maryland and not Virginia. This helps.

  • OneAlpha OneAlpha on May 07, 2015

    The parental controls thing is madness. The way you get better at something is to do it more, not less. If teenagers lack proficiency in operating a motor vehicle, the obvious solution to the problem is to get them behind the wheel and practicing as early and as often as possible, not starting them later and restricting when and where they can do it. Here's a radical thought, while we're at it - It seems that the source of this particular problem is that modern society treats teenagers like horny little morons and practically EXPECTS them to make big mistakes. What if we stopped doing that? What if society started expecting the nearly-fully-grown to behave like it? The fact that you're 17 doesn't OBLIGATE you to do stupid, irresponsible things. Admittedly, this is a matter for the larger culture to work out, but if people were expected to act like adults and have all their shit together by age 23 like they used to be, maybe future generations wouldn't be trying to figure out ways to lower the car crash rate among 17-year-olds. Or how to get 35-year-olds off the gaming couch and into the role of husband and father.